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Simple and Effective – 1985 Yamaha RZ-350 Kenny Roberts Edition

These days, it’s longer to tell what’s not onboard the RZ-350 than what is.  One of the last two-strokes in the U.S. market, there is no ECU, no 3-way adjustable dampers, no anti-dive, no traction control, no speed shifter, no fuel injection, no anti-lock brakes, etc., etc.  Just 375 lbs., 50 ponies, and maybe you.

20150827 1985 yamaha rz350 roberts edition left

1985 Yamaha RZ-350 Kenny Roberts Edition for sale on eBay

20150827 1985 yamaha rz350 roberts edition right front

Not completely without modern equipment, the RZ-350 did have YPVS, the electronically-controlled exhaust port, which improved rideability.  But in most other ways it was just plain riding, a 350cc two-stroke introduced in 1983, the 1985 year having a lightweight bikini fairing and red-white colors.  A 6-speed transmission helps keep the 350cc twin on the boil.  Air-preload forks are complemented by monoshock rear suspension.  Triple-disk brakes make more space between telephone poles.   4.10 x 18 front and rear tires are on pretty light looking wheels.

20150827 1985 yamaha rz350 roberts edition cockpit  20150827 1985 yamaha rz350 roberts edition left fairing detail

A number of racey mods update this RZ350 – catalyst-equipped exhaust removed in favor of expansion chambers with mufflers, and handling enhancements up front include fork brace and steering damper.  The oil metering pump has been secured in favor of pre-mix, a standard racetrack update.  Otherwise the bike looks clean and original.

20150827 1985 yamaha rz350 roberts edition right tank  20150827 1985 yamaha rz350 roberts edition left engine

Though just five of the last 30 years are accounted for, the owner says in the eBay auction:

Collector quality 1985 Yamaha RZ350 Kenny Roberts Signature Edition with only 8889 actual miles in excellent condition.  All original paint and engine. Has Toomey pipes, Daytona fork brace and a steering stabilizer that appear to be period correct. The oil pump has been disabled and is set up for pre-mix only, very common safety modification. I have the dowel pin and instructions from the original owner if you want to put it back to stock.  I also have the original pipes as well as all the smog components, hoses etc. Bike also has its original tool kit and manual. Bike starts, runs, drives, stops, and idles as it should. Mechanically sound. The tires, while having plenty of tread, are starting to get weather checked. I have lovingly owned and enjoyed this bike in my collection for the last 5 years.

Might want to replace or make a close inspection of those tires and other wear parts, but this looks to be a great very sporty RZ…

-donn

8 Comments

  • This one looks very clean and intact.

    Finding decent tires is going to be the challenge since decent 18″ rubber (Bridgestone, Metzler, etc) is no longer available stateside.

  • still for sale price loc?

  • Nice. but not a KR. Only the Yellow and Black bikes were KR’s.

  • the bone stock non cali model is MUCH close to 40 rwhp

  • I had an rz350 with toomey pipes and filter/jet kit. 53 hp at the rear wheel on a dyno. I still miss that bike.

  • Now I do know the KR edition was sold in 84-85 in the states. Was the yellow and black livery only available on the 84 and the red white and blue livery on the 85? If anyone can answer I would appreciate it!

  • 2nd BEST bike to hit the U.S. shores… Next to the RD/RZ/RZV 500’s..And yes, the red/white 350’s had KR’s signature on the upper, so they were a Roberts model, technically…

  • the rd/rz/rzv was never officially imported due to the buzz kill epa, much rather have a 350 more accessible aftermarket support and spares available

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